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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ask most cyclists if a sporting motorcycle can be equiped with a shaft drive and the answer will probably be no, not happening.

By sporting m/c I mean race replica canyon carving hooligan, no compromise attack machine. So the FJR may not be in this catagory.

Sport Touring and straight ahead Touring catagories of motorcycling are the other slots one could place the FJR. My bias is in the direction of Sport Touring, defined as: Riding at an 80-85% pace over the twistiest sp) roads for one or more days. Touring, I define as travelling for many days at a leisurley pace. Just look at your tire wear pattern and you will know which catagory you are in.

When the FJR first came on the scene, many of us climbed on the train and have been having a hoot as the train rocks down the line. I never thought of the FJR as a Race Replica or a Touring motorcycle. For me it matched my ideal of a Sport Touring machine with the following attributes: Massive power, quick enough handling, hard bags, shaft drive, all day comfort, and not too much weight. The package as delivered was a willing partner in achieving this ideal. Working to fine tune the basic unit with Mr. Power Commander, Mr. Corbin, Mr. Ohlins/Wilbers etc. has resulted in a delightful package! The one area which we could not farkle our way out of is weight. Big weight is a big compromise for any motorcycle. The 2001/2003 bike without bags and no gas weighs something like 537lbs, with bags about 560lbs. I'm certain I will be corrected on these numbers! To me this is stretching the limit for a "sporting" motorcycle. Under 500lbs with bags would be great. Alas, the FJR carries his weight well once proper suspension is fitted. My mechanic described riding the FJR as dancing with a fat lady. On a three day trip, I would rather dance with a fat lady than be sand and wind blasted on a full on sport bike.

For me the FJR has never been a full on Touring rig. Some have installed auxillary fuel tanks, lights and barn door wind screens to fit the Long Distance needs. I have never been willing to diminish the Canyon Carver attitude by going in this direction. To the FJRs credit, the basic unit is adaptable and works as a lightweight fast tourer.

And back to the Shaft drive. What a great concept; low maintenance and utterly reliable. What we lack in the Race Replica look, we benefit by never giving the drive train a thought when we are out on the road, days from home. The success of the FJR as a Sport Touring machine is evidenced by the pride all of us share when we roll into the mountaintop restaurant parking lot full of cyclist. The FJR is not to be denied.

In San Diego, BAGSTR
 

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Very well said BAGSTR. The ability to remove some of the FJR's weight in the side bags does result in better wind management and a 'faster look'.
The fairing design as beautiful as it is does lend it self the overall 'fat lady' look, and I am sure if some designer wanted to give it a sport look, it could easily change the perception to something closer to a 'Busa.
Benefit of the change would only be more wind in your face, less comfort and more fatigue.
For me the design suits for all that I love about motorcycling, able to ride with the sport guys and the next day load the bags and tent and take off for a week or two in the mountains.
 

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There also some shafty beemers that are QUITE sporting. (not mentioning the RT models, kinda so-so in the sporting department)

A well-designed shaft is a great deal for sport-touring, for sure! Tire changes are easier with it, too! ;)



:) - almost finished with bikini patrol in FL
 

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BAGSTR said:
we benefit by never giving the drive train a thought when we are out on the road, days from home.
In San Diego, BAGSTR
Well, having had a ST1100 that got through one original and one second hand rear wheel assembly, I beg to differ! Maybe I was just unlucky (Come to think of it I've had a lot of "well I've never seen that happen before" from mechanics, over the years! Yep, I'm unlucky)
 

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Shaft drives do require maintenance you know. Fresh oil in the gear case, grease on the splines, and new rubbers in the cush drives.

I've been riding shaft drive bikes for some 35 years, nearly every day, and I have done huge mileages without any problems.

I wont even consider buying a new bike unless it has shaft drive on it.
 

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The Pan was serviced regularly (as was an XJ900 I had that did 90,000 miles with no trouble until flattened by a sand and gravel lorry). My point was that anything mechanical can break, even with the best of TLC!
 

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BAGSTR said:
Big weight is a big compromise for any motorcycle. The 2001/2003 bike without bags and no gas weighs something like 537lbs, with bags about 560lbs. I'm certain I will be corrected on these numbers! To me this is stretching the limit for a "sporting" motorcycle. Under 500lbs with bags would be great. Alas, the FJR carries his weight well once proper suspension is fitted.
I'd agree. The FJR has never represented itself as a sport bike. Additionally, 650 pounds is not "big weight". 650 pounds is intermediate weight; in keeping with the sport-touring nature of the FJR's design. NINE HUNDRED pounds is "big weight" and is the realm of touring bikes like the K1200LT, GL1500 and GL1800.
 

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Yup, the GL1800 is w/o a doubt the big touring bike, not to be mistaken as a FJR :lol: I now have 500 miles on my 06 GL1800 and it is surprisingly spritely and well behaved in the twisties.

Certainly not like my FJR, which can handle just about anything, including dragging a trailer out to the last two WFOs at hair raising speeds, including the twisties.

Now for dancing with the 'fat lady' my Royal Star was well qualified in that department, with a wet weight of well over 800 lbs, floorboards, mushy suspension and no zip, well maybe a bit. A real white knuckle ride in the mountains.
 
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